Deputy Head of Family Law Ms Dorothy Tan recently won an important and landmark decision at the Singapore Court of Appeal. The decision impacts upon how matrimonial assets are to be divided in Singapore (Twiss, Christopher James Hans v Twiss, Yvonne Prendergast  SGCA 52].
In order to understand how matrimonial assets are to be divided, you must understand the new Singapore law.
In Twiss, Christopher James Hans, Dorothy was selected by a client (the husband) to be the lead counsel in a complex and difficult case involving the division of multi-million dollar assets. The case was heard before a court of 3 Appellate Judges at Singapore’s highest court, the Court of Appeal. Dorothy won the appeal and that decision has become one of the most important cases in Singapore divorce law because the Court of Appeal reaffirmed and summarized the new Singapore law in ANJ vs ANK on division of matrimonial assets
Dorothy’s Court of Appeal case is now an important case in Singapore on division of matrimonial assets and has been subsequently cited and followed by the courts in such cases as Zhou Lijie v Wang Chengxiang  SGHC 316; TIG v TIH  SGHCF 12; and THL v THM  SGHCF 11.
In the case, the Court of Appeal reaffirmed and clarified its recent decision in ANJ vs ANK that in determining what is a fair and equitable division of matrimonial assets, the court will follow a structured approach consisting of 3 broad steps. These 3 broad steps are:
(a) Express as a ratio the parties’ direct contributions relative to each other, having regard to the amount of financial contribution each party made towards the acquisition or improvement of the matrimonial assets;
(b) Express as a second ratio the parties’ indirect contributions relative to each other, having regard to both financial and non-financial contributions; and
(c) Derive the parties’ overall contributions relative to each other by taking an average of the two ratios above, keeping in mind that, depending on the circumstances of each case, the direct and indirect contributions may not be accorded equal weight and one of the two ratios may be accorded more significance than the other.
The significance of the recent Court of Appeal decisions in ANJ and in Twiss, Christopher James Hans is that there will be a more balanced approach towards division of assets. The wife can no longer claim an ‘uplift’ for her indirect contributions. Neither can the husband say that his direct contributions are more important. The Court of Appeal has made it clear that both direct and indirect contributions are equally important factors in division of assets.
For more information on this, contact PKWA LAW PRACTICE LLC at tel 6854-3100 or visit our Family Website at http://www.sgdivorcelawyer.sg/. Or you may wish to contact Mr LIM CHONG BOON and Ms DOROTHY TAN at 6397-6100.
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